Guest Post: Math Faculty Akeish Forsythe

Long Live Gaming

Prep@Collegiate Summer Academy was the perfect opportunity for me to get a better grasp of gamifying lessons and content in the math classrooms by using two distinct strategies and methods and marrying them as one: Class Craft and Judo Math. Because Middle school lends itself to this model, we have successfully done this in two ways: character training and personalized learning goals. In the beginning, students were given avatars through Class Craft and online gamification program that allows teachers to award experience points and powers for great behavior and action while taking away health points and assigning consequences for inappropriate behaviors. Their life has become the video game and everything they do impacts their virtual character as well as their real-life character. FortNite the game has made this the perfect time to implement because kids live, sleep, and breathe virtual reality.  It is such an awesome opportunity to use that world to help keep track of the real long-lasting behaviors that determine future success. 

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In addition, the Judo Math system has been incorporated in the Class Craft world through the Quest option. Judo Math separates the curriculum into a set of achievable learning targets and objectives grouped by color or belts. Each belt may have 2-6 objectives so that when the student masters them all, they move on to the successive belt until they reach black belt or green belt. Each belt group comes with a bracelet; the goal is to get all 5 by the end of the unit. I have found that it is better for students to see their progression sooner than later, therefore stretching all 5 belts over the school year is not advisable. It is best to reset belts at the end of a quarter or semester. Within Classcraft, the teacher has the option to set a Quest in a make-believe world where the first task is a video with an embedded quiz or assessment – Edpuzzle or LearnZillion is best for this. If students show that they understand they can go to the next town or mission; if not, they can go in a different direction to help reinforcement the correct learning and then catch up with those who got it the first time in the next mission. The same goes for practice or independent work when assigned.  Teachers can grade work or assign it so it is graded digitally. Then send students with mastery in one direction to complete a project or final culminating event while students without mastery travel in another direction to practice more. Finally, they then connect with the final event (assessment). The good thing is students only see their path and what they have unlocked, they do not know about the other worlds until they unlock it with mastery, so everyone’s path is different. 

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I like to use the 5E approach to learning which exposes students to the new material by making connections to what they already know. Then students learn by engaging in an interactive task or video. Afterwards they explain their understanding by submitting notes or reflection. Next, they practice until they are ready to assess. Each Learning target is given to students in advance and they take the time they need to master and move on.  Each quest is different and unique to the student himself. For every progression they gain points and powers they can use in the classroom.

Who said learning couldn’t be fun!?

--Akeish Forsythe

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Ms. Forsythe flying high with the boys at Outward Bound!